Becoming a Student / Private Sessions

If you have developed a stable daily meditation practice, it’s possible to become a student at Mountain Cloud by taking the following steps.

Attend enough sits and events to feel clearly that Mountain Cloud is a community and place where you’d like to practice. (During the covid lockdown please attend our online events).

Attend several of our “introduction to meditation” classes.

Listen and watch these introductory talks (podcasts and videos) recorded by Henry.

Attend at least two multi day retreats (5 days or longer each). During the covid-19 lockdown, attend at least four virtual retreats.

Read the Guidelines for Members wrritten by Henry.

Become a member of Mountain Cloud. Click here for details.

Read some of our recommended books:

  • Zen: the Authentic Gate, Yamada Koun
  • Three Pillars of Zen, Philip Kapleau
  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki
  • Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana

During lockdown our teachers, Henry Shukman and Valerie Forstman, are not having any face to face meetings with students.  Once you have completed some of the suggested readings and classes, set up counseling session with Henry or Valerie, as a way to begin receiving individual guidance. You can email Valerie or Henry directly. Contact details are below.

Private Interviews / Dokusan

Henry is not currently offering dokusan.

Valerie is offering dokusan to any interested Mountain Cloud member, including Henry’s students.  She offers 10-minute interviews which you can schedule through our online system. If you decide to schedule with Valerie, please send her a brief  email prior to your first meeting with details about your practice (eg what koan you are working on or other relevant details).

Please contact our administrator to gain access to this online scheduling system.


If you would like an extended interview with Henry or Valerie about your practice and spiritual journey, they are both available for spiritual counseling. Sessions are typically 30-55 minutes long and are available via skype, zoom, FaceTime, Whatsapp and phone. There is a fee based on a flexible sliding scale – both Henry and Valerie want to make these sessions affordable for all regardless of financial means. Contact Henry or Valerie directly to schedule these session.

Henry:  teacher@mountaincloud.org.

Valerie: v.forstman@tcu.edu


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